The New Vic Theatre present a double-bill of comedy as the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough return to Newcastle-under-Lyme with a revival of a true classic and the new play from the pen of one of Britain’s greatest playwrights – Alan Ayckbourn.
In Season’s Greetings (Tue 8 – Sat 26 October), Neville and Belinda are hosting their extended family over a long weekend. The presence of two tyrannical uncles – Bernard, whose ham-fisted annual puppet shows are a source of dread to young and old alike, and TV addict Harvey – promises to stir up trouble from the start – and that’s before you add to the mix broken toys, creaking marriages and guest novelist Clive, whose relationship with Belinda’s sister Rachel is going nowhere, causing him to look for love elsewhere.
First performed in 1980, Alan Ayckbourn says that Season’s Greetings was inspired by his two sons mounting a puppet show. When he got involved, he says: “I remember Steven saying ‘This is only meant to be fun!’ and running crying out of the room as I shouted: ‘It may be fun to you, but this is a show and we’ve got to do it professionally’. By the time it went on, all the joy had gone out of it. I think everyone has had at least one disastrous Christmas and so the audience relates to it. I used to say: ‘You may think you’ve had a bad Christmas but wait until you see this one…’”
Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present (Thu 10 – Sat 26 October) is the new, and 83rd play from the legendary playwright. It’s Mickey’s 80th birthday and he and his wife Meg are awaiting the arrival of their son, Adrian, and his new (and latest!) fiancée, Grace. Adrian has, according to his parents, a certain reputation regarding women and they feel meek, mild mannered Grace should surely be warned of this. But are things really as they appear? As birthday follows birthday, prepare to be amazed as the truth is finally revealed about Adrian, the suburban closet Lothario!
The Ayckbourn Season, featuring Season’s Greetings and Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present, is on stage at the New Vic Theatre from Tuesday 8 – Saturday 26 October. Tickets are on sale now priced from £15.50 and can be booked by calling the Box Office on 01782 717962 or online at newvictheatre.org.uk A transaction fee of £1.00 per ticket applies when booking online.